My cousin Jackie was a week away from her wedding date and was starting to feel anxious. She hadn’t been sticking to her diet and was feeling the pressure of fitting into her beautiful blush, mermaid fitted, beaded wedding gown. She tried juicing to lose weight quickly and feel healthy enough to finishing the last-minute details of the upcoming nuptials. Only thing is she is diabetic and her sugar levels were up and down making her sick the week of her wedding. Realizing it was the liquid diet making her ill, she switched to a well-balanced diet of healthy foods and finished her weight loss goal. She looked stunning and walked happily down the aisle on her wedding day with her handsome husband.
Maintaining good health and riding the body of unnecessary and harmful chemicals is a natural concern for general health. Weight loss is one of the most common concern among Americans and searching for ways to achieve this successfully. The most advertised and common remedies are detox diets, whether it is juicing or colonics. It is a way to rejuvenate, renew and recharge the body. They promise to help you feel and look better by following a regimen. Most people, majority being women, are looking for a quick fix or fast solution to improve their body image or rapid weight loss. Others may consider it to be a way to cure an illness or disease. Is there proof of this conclusion? Do we need help to detox our bodies? I believe it is another “fad” for companies to sell a product or service that is unnecessary.
Toxins we are exposed to daily may include pollutants in the air, ingredients in processed foods, pesticides on produce, or arsenic or mercury in the soil. For those who have an allergy to gluten that can also be harmful. Most things we consume can be harmful if we ingest a considerable amount. By cutting down on sugars, fats, and salt, with the help of our natural filtration system we can start feeling better (Cloake). Drinking only liquid can result in some weight loss but once carbohydrates and a normal diet is resumed the weight is gained back. There can be health risk when a detox diet is done improperly or for a long period of time. Lack of protein due to insufficient amino acids for repair resulting in wasting of the muscle.
Our bodies detoxify naturally every day without juicing. We have the kidneys and liver which filter and remove ingested toxins. Apovian says, “If someone wishes to detox from pesticides, sugars, or any other unhealthy substance, the best thing to do is abstain from it, and let the body remove the unwanted substance.” Most Americans are on the go and eat poorly due to time and money. With poor diet, necessary vitamins are lacking effecting the immune system therefore we feel tired and rundown. Eating better and exercise can help our body and organs function properly improving cellular and hormone balances. Fruits and vegetables should be a part of the daily diet so once individuals start drinking the juice they feel better attributing it to the liquid diet. “The notion that you can and should flush out your arteries or your intestines may seem plausible but it’s not,” says Edzard Ernst, M.D., Ph.D., professor of complementary medicine at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, England.
In the article, “Do You Really Need to Detox” colon cleansing can be used to treat occasional constipation but regular colonics can cause cramping, nausea and vomiting. Dehydration can also be a risk with the persistent bowel movements and vomiting, electrolyte imbalance and infection can cause illness or death. Colonics can cause perforation and micro tears in the colon creating other health problems. People may be ignoring symptoms of a more serious condition and decide not to seek medical attention. Detox teas may decrease constipation, bloat, and flatulence by loosening bowels to clear intestines of any slow digesting material (Havala).
According to Dr. B.J Hardick writes of detoxing as a necessity in the article, “The history of detox and why it’s not a fad,” stating the history and the “generation of wisdom and scientific knowledge” remains relevant and useful today. Detoxing has been used for centuries in the form of saunas or herbal baths but also in traditional Chinese medicine. They practice the ayurvedic method of detoxification after the World Trade Center tragedy and participants saw positive results in their health. We can still use ancient medicine in modern situations with a positive outcome. Metal can build up in the body through fish, environment and supplements that needs to be expelled through a detox of some form. He also states holistic medicine addresses issue with the body as a whole for treatment and not just the symptoms. The symptoms can be treated individually and caused by toxic accumulation. The body needs to be brought back to health as a whole in a purified state. Avoiding toxins or an environment can keep the body from absorbing possible harmful chemicals into the body.
This science free health trend is driven by marketing, misinformation and fear. It solely benefits the companies of these products and gives false hope to those with high expectations of life changing results. We can change our lifestyle and daily habits with the same results for long term success instead of these crash diets with short term results. It’s our sedentary lives and toxic exposure to food, gadgets, workplace and homes that cause our bodies to shut down or not function how they should be to naturally expel harmful toxins. There are no studies to show that a detox diet is necessary and can lead to a longer life. The human body can defend itself against environmental insults and occasional indulgences naturally. Save the money on a “fad” diet and start living a healthier lifestyle for longevity and happiness. Education is key to avoid falling prey to scams or nonsense suggestions we may run across.
Apovian, Caroline M.D. BlackDoctor.org, “Are Detox Diets Safe? Nutrition Experts Weigh In.”
Cloake, Felicity. “Let’s Face It: Detox Diets Are Making Fools of Us.” New Statesman, Jan. 2015, p. 53
“Do You Really Need to Detox?” Consumer Reports on Health, vol. 21, no. 1 Jan. 2009, p.6
Dr. B.J.Hardick.com. “The History of Detox- and Why It’s Not a Fad. May 11, 2016
Edzard Ernst M.D. “Detox is Bunk; Save Your Money.” Edzardernst.com. January 2018.
Havala, Suzanne. “Detox Diets: The Pros and Cons of Cleansing Fasts and Products.” Environmental Nutrition, vol. 23, no. 3, Mar. 2000, p. 1
Netflix “The User’s Guide to Cheating Death.” 2018 Season 1 Episode 1.